Crocker Ridge P500
Peak 6,475ft P300

Mon, Sep 17, 2018

With: Jackie Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

Jackie's summer was drawing to a close, heading back to school in a few days. I offered to take her to Yosemite for Snake Dike, a route she'd been talking about all summer. She hadn't really been training for the level of endurance it would take to do it as a dayhike, but I figured a little suffering never hurt anyone. Well, almost never. She was nervous but excited by the prospect so we headed out from San Jose around noon the day before. We planned to camp just outside the Valley and get up at 4a to start our day. If we left San Jose later we'd have to deal with rush hour traffic and if I waited until after that (like 8p), we wouldn't get much sleep. This plan left us about 4hrs to kill before sunset so I picked out a few easy summits between the SR120 entrance station and our planned campsite above Foresta. Both were rather simple affairs, a good idea before our more ambitious main event.

Crocker Ridge

Crocker Ridge lies outside the park boundary in the adjacent Stanislaus National Forest, but the easiest access is from inside Yosemite, just a few miles above the entrance station at Big Oak Flat. There wasn't a good turnout that I could find so I parked just off the roadway, a few feet outside the solid white line. The route up to Crocker Ridge is only 1/3mi but climbs 700ft, a fairly steep climb. Fire had burned through here a few years ago, and the brush was growing back nicely. Jackie decided it was a bit much, so she waited it out while I spent half an hour going up and down. The route was steep as expected but the brush not as bad as it had looked. A barbed-wire fence in good condition marked the boundary between forest and park (seems rather silly to create an impediment for the wildlife, but maybe it was to keep hunters out of the park? There were some views to be had from the partially forested summit, looking southeast to northwest, mostly overlooking some tame hills within the national forest. Not bad, but nothing special.

Peak 6,475ft

About six miles further up the road is a campground on the right side of the highway, just before the Tioga Rd junction at Crane Flat. We stopped at the entrance kiosk to ask if it was ok to drive into the campground to do some hiking for a few hours. "There's not really any hiking located here..." was the response from the attendant trying to be helpful. I explained I was looking for an old road that goes off towards an obscure summit but she said she didn't think any such road existed. She was nice enough to let us go in and look, as long as we didn't park in any of the campsites. We found the old road marked by a plastic sandwich board, barring vehicles. By the many footprints it was obvious it was used for hiking. We parked across the road from it and walked down the easy path for about a mile, as flat as you could imagine. A large log blocked vehicle traffic about half way along (if the sandwich board hadn't discouraged you). Our peak was about 300ft uphill to the right after a mile, a short cross-country distance of less than 1/5mi. The turnoff is soon after an old gate marking the park/forest boundary. We found mild brush on this one, but not enough to really bother Jackie in her shorts. Afterwards we drove to our campsite just outside the Valley and while away the rest of the daylight until sunset came around 7p. Early to bed, early to rise, big day tomorrow...


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